The Raspberry Pi 2 / Raspberry Pi Foundation

Small and cheap computer shuts off if a picture of it is taken using a flash

The new Raspberry Pi has to reboot itself if a picture is taken of it using a flash — a problem that the team behind it has re-branded as a bonus.

The credit-card sized computer is vulnerable to the “photoelectric effect”, which forces electrical components to reset if they are hit by light. The phenomenon was discovered by Albert Einstein, who was awarded a Nobel prize for the work.

But Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton has said that the resetting effect is not a problem — but instead a feature that will teach children about the phenomenon.

"If I had to pick a bug in the Raspberry Pi, excessive sensitivity to paparazzi is the one I would pick," Upton told the BBC. "If this was destroying devices I would be less cheerful about it."

The company wasn’t aware of the problem before the new version was revealed last week, Upton said.

It was discovered by users on the Raspberry Pi forum, in a thread titled “Why is the Pi2 camera-shy?”

A user called Peter O said that taking a picture with a flash causes the Pi to instantly power off, and that at first he hadn’t realised. On the forum, Peter O now refers to himself as the “Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!”